Policy Update – Dec 2020

Cabinet nominations, our Grassroots Groups, and SnowSchool at Home

Photo Credit: Emily Sierra Photography

From Hilary Eisen, WWA Policy Director (12/23/2020)

I hope this December policy update finds you somewhere with lots of snow and plans to get out and enjoy it during the last days of 2020!

Biden’s Cabinet Nominations

As WWA wraps up the year, we’ve been working with Outdoor Alliance to share our priorities with President-elect Biden’s transition team and paying close attention to the new Cabinet nominees. The Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior, and CEQ Chair are most important for our work in protecting human-powered experiences on public lands. In a recent blog post, we looked at the nominees and appointments for these integral positions and what that may signal for public lands.

WWA Grassroots Groups

For our final policy update of 2020 I wanted to highlight the work that some of our grassroots groups are doing at the moment. It’s inspiring to see all of the awesome work our grassroots network does across the country!

In Colorado, Colorado Mountain Club partners with the Ouray Ranger District to staff 2 snow rangers on the district. This will be the second year of this successful partnership and we’re excited to be able to help support the program this year.

As part of gearing up for a busy winter season, CMC is hosting a Snow Ranger Summit on January 12. This (free) summit is a virtual gathering of snow rangers, land managers and winter recreation partners to discuss best practices for programs throughout Colorado and beyond. The summit is open to all who are interested in attending – registration link here.

In Wyoming, Teton Backcountry Alliance is working with the Forest Service and other partners to communicate key messages to Teton-area visitors so they understand the ethics of going into the backcountry and have access to information resources. TBCA and their local partners will be spreading the word this winter through social media and hard copy flyers (funded by WWA) that will be distributed to all who rent BC gear and purchase guidebooks from local shops.

TBCA is also launching a Volunteer Teton Pass Ambassador Program, with 4-6 volunteers to provide extra support for the longstanding Teton Pass Ambassador.

In California (Tahoe Backcountry Alliance, Friends of the Inyo) and Colorado (Silent Tracks), grassroots groups are collecting data about trail use and backcountry visitation. These data points are extremely helpful when engaging in (or preparing for) winter travel planning, and for advocating for more/better parking opportunities for winter recreation and other transit solutions to help people access the backcountry. And, speaking of access, grassroots groups in Alaska, Idaho, and Montana groom Nordic-specific and multi-use trails for public use all winter long!

This is just a sample of all the impressive work currently being done by groups in the WWA grassroots network. WWA is lucky to have partners like your organization, and we’re pleased to be able to support our grassroots groups by sharing policy expertise, providing the Backcountry Film Festival for fundraising, grants, and more.  

SnowSchool at Home

Finally, if you haven’t seen the awesome SnowSchool at Home resources WWA developed for this winter, I encourage you to check them out!

SnowSchool At Home is a new winter-long series of outdoor SnowSchool activities and simple snow science experiments that can be completed in your backyard. Each activity has a short video to introduce it, and for those who are using SnowSchool for virtual schooling, online classroom or homeschooling, a corresponding activity/curriculum guide is provided. Whether your organization runs a SnowSchool program, or you are looking for fun, educational resources for the kids (and adults) in your life, SnowSchool At Home has got you covered!

Visit the SnowSchool At Home website here

Adios, 2020!

We’re optimistic for what 2021 holds and look forward to “seeing” you in the New Year. Thank you for all your support in throughout the year and through the first few months of the weirdest winter we’ve ever seen.